I am so ready to taper.
This high (for me) mileage thing is beginning to take a toll. Luckily I don't have any injuries or significant aches and pains (except for my little broken toe, but that doesn't count since it's not a running injury). It's not that I don't enjoy running a lot, but I'm looking forward to a few easy weeks and then getting on with the Peak 50. My last long run on Saturday at Pineland felt like hard work, tougher than any of the other 10 long runs I've had in the past 4 months (5 runs between 20 and 25 miles, 5 runs between 29 and 31 miles). In theory I should be getting stronger and the long runs should be getting easier, but as my overall mileage has increased in the past two weeks I think I'm reaching the limit of how hard/far I can push myself in training. Now I just need to rest up for the big race.
Fancy graph of my weekly mileage this year courtesy of RunningAHEAD:
1 More Mile For Sunshine came after a 54 mile week. Saturday's long run followed a 77.4 mile week (my highest mileage training week ever), so perhaps its not surprising that I was feeling a little tired.
Saturday morning I arrived at Pineland at 7 to meet Jim and get in a few miles before joining the 8:00 crowd. We ran a shortened version of the 10k course down to the yurt and back. The weather forecast I had seen online called for temps to remain around 50 degrees all morning, overcast sky and a high chance of rain. Perfect long running weather. It was definitely cool and overcast but what I hadn't anticipated was high humidity. By the time Jim and I returned to the YMCA parking lot at 8:00 we were both soaked with sweat.
I swapped my handheld bottle for a loaded hydration pack and we set off with a large group on the 25k course. Once our group got back to the Yurt people went in all different directions as some didn't want to run the fields, others ran a modified version of the fields, while Julia, Laura and I stuck precisely to the race course. Laura cut her run a little short before returning to the Campus Loop, and Julia kept going to the Oak Hill side while I stopped off back at the car to top up my fluid and food supply. 15.5 miles down and by now the clouds were breaking, the sun was coming out and it was quickly warming up. I took off my shirt to wring out the sweat, put it back on and continued alone to the Oak Hill side.
When I got to the Gloucester Hill cut-off I saw Jim and Julia coming up the hill so I took the cut-off and joined them, although it wasn't long before Julia pulled away. Jim and I plodded along. We returned to the cars at 19.5 miles and I filled up my pack with the last of the water I had with me. I think I had gone through about 3 liters already. Jim and Julia were done for the day so I prepared to head out on my own when I bumped into Linda who was just heading out for an hour long run. Perfect timing and her company helped take my mind off the increasing heat. Not that it was particularly hot, just a lot warmer than I had planned for. We ran the complete Oak Hill loop which brought me up to a little more than 24 miles.
When we returned to the cars I was so ready to be done. My hydration pack was empty and I didn't have any more water in my car. Luckily I was able to fill a water bottle at the YMCA. After giving up 23 miles into my long run last weekend I needed to push through this one so I headed back downhill to the Yurt along the 10k race course and then struggled back uphill for the last 3 miles of my run. I didn't get enough water from the Y so I was forced to drink - and run - very conservatively to get through these last miles without bonking. I managed to keep it together but moved at a very slow pace with a lot of walking on hills I would ordinarily run.
I had hoped to get in 31 miles today, wanted to quit at 19, and when I got back to my car at 30.5 I said good e-fucking-nough.
time: 5:03:11 (stopped watch at 4 stops at the car)
distance: 30.5 miles
weather: low 50's, cloudy and humid to clear sky, near 70
conditions: dry, firm trails
gear: Inov-8 X-Talon 212, socks, shorts, t-shirt, cap, Nathan HPL #020